Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Movie Review: "Stardust" (2007)

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Director: Matthew Vaughn
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes

A young man lives in Wall, a small, quaint English village on the border of the mystical land of Stormhold. The two towns are separated by a small stone wall, and this man has promised his love he will cross the threshold into Stormhold to retrieve a fallen star to prove his devotion to her. Once he finds the star, it isn't at all what he expected. 

When people speak of classic fantasy adventure films, the list usually includes pictures like "The Lord of the Rings," "The Princess Bride," and the "Harry Potter" series. Unfortunately, "Stardust," doesn't come up too often, which is a travesty because it should. Director Matthew Vaughn, who would become well known for directing comic book adaptations like "Kick-Ass," "X-Men: First Class," and "Kingsman: The Secret Service," managed to create something fun and imaginative with his adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel.

The film stars Charlie Cox, who would go on to play Marvel's Daredevil, as well as Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Mark Strong, who make up the key players in this story. Also in the film in smaller capacities are Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller, Henry Cavill, Ricky Gervais, and Peter O'Toole. With such a stellar cast, it is supremely sad this movie was a box office failure in the United States (and also, this is why we can't have nice things). As we know, box office receipts are not necessarily indicative of quality, and all too often, exceptional movies go underappreciated until years after their release. Such is the case with "Stardust."

This is a classic fantasy romance sword and sorcerer adventure. The story revolves around a young man named Tristan, played by Cox, who is a meager shopboy living in the small village of Wall, England. It is called Wall because, at the edge of town, there is a small stone wall which separates their normal, boring world from the mystical land of Stormhold, where magic still abounds and sky pirates capture lightning from the clouds. When Tristan sees a star fall from the sky, it lands in Stormhold. He promises to cross the barrier between the two lands to retrieve the star for the woman he believes is the love of his life, Victoria, played by Sienna Miller. Upon finding the star, Tristan is shocked to find it is not a lump of celestial rock, but actually, a very beautiful woman named Yvaine, played by Claire Danes. It turns out, many people are looking for the same star for a variety of different reasons. Getting Yvaine back to his love will not be as easy as Tristan thought.

We absolutely love this film. "Stardust" is bright, colorful, exciting, funny, heartfelt film, and an absolute blast to watch. This was only Matthew Vaughn's second directorial effort, and even here you can see what talent he has for stylized action and stunning visuals. Though relatively unknown at the time, Charlie Cox does a great job as Tristan, who spends the entire movie with one goal in mind, only to have his heart and soul switch gears halfway through its runtime. Claire Danes is fantastic as the innocent, ethereal star Yvaine. She has a lot to learn about people and humanity and emotions but is pure of heart and wiser than she seems. Michelle Pfeiffer is a scene-stealer as antagonist Lamia, a witch who wants to eat the heart of the fallen star to regain her youth. She combines a sinister nature with a bit of charm as well as some good comedic timing. The old age makeup work on her is absolutely incredible. Though a much smaller part, Robert De Niro is fabulous as Captain Shakespeare. Some may consider his performance to be a bit of a stereotype or caricature, but he plays the part well.

"Stardust" is one of those movies we watch every now and then and it always puts a smile on our faces from beginning to end. Sure, it can be a bit silly and over the top at times, but we think it is an under-seen, criminally overlooked gem that fantasy fans should absolutely seek out if they haven't already done so. This is everything we hope a fantasy adventure film would be and it continues to be one of our favorites even today.

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My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~76%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Lewis, yes, this is a nice movie! Hopefully you give it a try if you haven't already seen it!

  2. It's about time this film is recognized for the excellent story and production it is! My favorite movie that I'm constantly introducing to friends. Well done!

    1. Hi, Anonymous! This movie has held up very well in the last decade in terms of story and production. It's such a fun film to introduce to friends and loved ones. Glad you enjoy it!